So the Detroit Tigers had a winning record on their first west coast trip of the year. They got solid pitching performances from Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and Phil Coke (his most recent start withstanding). Ryan Perry took a flight to Seattle to rejoin the team and face one batter today.
There’s no question that replacing Enrique Gonzales with Perry makes the bullpen better. Perry gives the Tigers a legitimate seventh inning guy, leaving Daniel Schlereth and Brayan Villarreal for the sixth or to get a tough out.
Ryan Raburn hit a home run while playing second base and hitting second. If he were better defensively at that position I would love to see him start there every day. However, I think defense up the middle is the most important thing for a baseball team. That’s why I think it’s time to give Scott Sizemore a chance this year at second base.
I really think the reason the Tigers were able to win this game was a managing blunder by Eric Wedge. In the third inning he allowed his left handed starter to pitch to Miguel Cabrera with a runner in scoring position, two outs, first base open and a Jhonny Peralta on deck. I don’t know in what world it makes sense to allow the Tigers’ best player to beat you. Remember this is a lineup that is collectively batting .244 and Cabbie came into play batting .400 against lefties.
What about Peralta you ask? He came into play hitting a whopping .063 against lefties. BINGO! Perhaps decisions like that are why Wedge is no longer managing the second place Cleveland Indians.
I also don’t think the importance of the Tigers not winning the series against the Oakland Athletics can be overstated. Going into the series, I would have been happy with the outcome, but expectations are not set in stone. Rather, they are very fluid. Once the Tigers took the first two, they went 2-3 for the rest of the road trip. Against two teams that are not that good, that’s not that good.
Now, the Tigers come home to face a struggling Chicago White Sox team and the Seattle Mariners again. I would like nothing more than to end this weekend with the White sox buried in the AL Central standings after a Tigers sweep.
The projected pitching matchups for the series with the south- siders are: Mark Buehrle vs. Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson vs. Brad Penny and John Danks vs. Max Scherzer. I don’t know if the Tigers are definitely ahead in any of those matchups.
The lineup is going to struggle in the absence of Victor Martinez. Today, the Tigers had Jhonny Peralta batting fifth and Raburn second. These are guys who belong in the bottom third of a contending team’s lineup.
I’m not worried about Jose Valverde, even after giving up a home run in the ninth inning today. He still converted his third save of the year. Unless Ozzie is able to get his club playing better baseball, there is little reason to expect anything less than a series win for the Tigers. That’s even with expecting Penny to give away a game.